The mission of the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) is working to ensure that students with disabilities receive assistive technology devices and services when needed to benefit from a free appropriate public education. The TATN consists of representatives from each of the Education Services Centers (ESCs) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Region 4 ESC in Houston, TX provides statewide leadership for the network. Through a comprehensive planning process, the TATN has developed a framework for statewide collaboration. Priorities in professional development and technical assistance focus on providing training, products and services that:
Assistive Technology enables students with disabilities to access the curriculum, increase independence, and participate actively in education and life activities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) federal regulations state:
…assistive technology means any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. 34 C.F.R. § 300.5.
…assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes:
(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
(c) Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology devices;
(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability, or if appropriate, that child's family; and
(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation service), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities. 34 C.F.R § 300.6.
Region 9 provides: